It was somewhere between 90 and 2000 degrees outside and so humid that periodically it would burst into a shower of nearly boiling rain even though it wasn’t cloudy.
Those who have had the pleasure of attending shows at the Corpse Fortress probably thought that it smelled like creepy bike punks. You probably were not able to hear the vocals at all. It was probably at least 30 degrees hotter inside than it was outside.
Nothing was any different this time around.
A little after 4 p.m., the first band got ready to start their set.
The basement was full, but not jammed up like at many other shows at the Corpse Fortress, and the crowd was a mix of faces I recognized from not being friendly in the past and new people who seemed like they probably wouldn’t like me either, but the energy was good in the room.
The first band was Sad Bones. They kicked things off with an indie-alternative sound that reminded me of a lot of shows I took chicks to in the early and middle 1990s.
I dug what they were doing, even though it was poppier than anything I remember listening to in probably 13 years, minimum. They were capable musicians and I dug their bass player’s sound quite a bit. At the very worst, they were probably ripping off a lot of bands people haven’t thought about in a while, which makes it easier to get away with. The singer has a really nice voice, which you didn’t have a chance of hearing unless you stood really close. I thought the singer was a female with a crucial mustache until I figured out that he was just a small-framed dude with pounds of luxuriously frizzy hair. My man has a nice voice for sure. They played a set that, while not the standard fare at this venue, was well received and probably enjoyed by most of the people there.
Sad Bones started me on a journey through the alt-rock years of my life.
Sad Bones brought that early ’90s college radio sound rushing back.
The next band, Troubled Sleep, bumped me ahead a few years to when I was getting into slightly more underground acts in this genre because it seemed like the chicks who were into the more mainstream indie stuff were too snooty and didn’t really want to [censored] or [censored] as much as I did, so I decided to find scummier chicks. I do not wish to imply that the ladies from Troubled Sleep were scummy. In fact, they seemed perfectly lovely and fun. I sat in front of a fan in the living room with the drummer for some time. She seemed like a real class act.
Troubled Sleep are vaguely based out of New York, although I think they have some ties to the Baltimore / D.C. area. They had a really great sound (aside from the singer, who was of course inaudible) and brought a more rocking style that had people moving their heads and occasionally even their arms. I appreciated the harder edge to their music, and although still not what you normally get at the Fortress, they brought the middle of this three-band lineup up to a really fun level and made me miss 1997.
I definitely look forward to seeing this band again and maybe bringing my fiancé and seeing how scummier indie rock works on her, because it sure used to work well for me back in the day!
And finally my musical journey roared into the 2000s, when there was a lot of good mid-fast tempo melodic punky hardcore happening around here.
That sound is probably even more fun now. I was distracted by too many other things to really enjoy it the first time around.
Police & Thieves have been putting on great shows for a while and true to their normal M.O. they delivered a high-energy set in spite of the extraordinary humidity.
I have no real idea how long they played for, but it seemed too brief. I would have happily stood in that disgusting basement for another 20 minutes, minimum, if they would have indulged us, but instead they ran through their set, not really giving us time to properly applaud them or even giving Carlos a chance to take a drink of his water without dropping it on the floor 20 times.
If you like really talented D.C. style hardcore and don’t already know about Police & Thieves, then you are probably a herb or a hillbilly, but you should definitely still take some time to check them out. I know I’m pretty much preaching to the choir here. Police and Thieves are dope.
So there you have it. This was a really fun show and one that you might have enjoyed a lot more than you expected. I did. It was a trip down memory lane, on a dirty, sweat-fueled slip ‘n’ slide without a PA.
Seen on the Scene: Beck Levy, Ambrose Nzams, Christine Cuniff, Joe Mitra, Simon Cohen, Dave Poole.
Who booked and promoted this show? Carni Klirs.
Did he pay the house? Yes.
Did he clean up after the show? Yes.
Was Pat Vogel there? Yes.